Thursday, 12 July 2012

Boyz like guzzling tequila

Did Altar Boyz live up or down to my expectations (see Preview below).
In a word, yes. And mostly “up”. From numerous sources : first-&-foremost
choreographer Sara-Jeanne Hosie’s  intricate, evocative and cheesy moves
for her five charges on the just-right Ted Roberts concert set; the Boyz
themselves – a (pun-intended) perfect pitch cast; and the Sheila White

The only “down” is utterly minor for this Bill Millerd-directed bit of
candy floss : the Kevin Del Aguila Jesus-script. Not many teens or
20-somethings in the house will probably understand reference to
“Episcopalian thugs” or even the word “genuflect” nevermind the ironic
devil exorcism rite of the song “Get The Hell Out”. But satire is its own
salvation sometimes.

In that vein (vain?), the best single song of the show from tunesmiths
Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker was “The Epiphany” (another
god-word), as swooned by Geoff Stevens (Mark) toward his would-be lover
Matthew. Clearly a coming out song, it dresses up and parades
like one emerging from a life as a closet Catholic instead :

I am a Catholic
Yes I am!
Long live the Vatican
God doesn't make mistakes and he made me
Let out what you've trapped inside
Come on and show your Catholic pride

19-year-old daughter said the “point” of the script, if truly there was one, was a bit lost on her. But she said her college buddies, at least the few who grew up with religion, might enjoy the jibes at how their faith is practiced, i.e. form conquers substance and ritual rules where personal choice is discouraged.

But for now forget that. The song-&-dance routines were tight and tuneful and terrific fun to watch in their own right, script be damned.

The style is not out of date at all, really – just 90’s Backstreet Boys’ stuff, this version with churchy riffs. It’s a sound that current Brit groups One Direction and The Wanted are resurrecting to convert the minds and hearts of young millennials now in grammar school.

Daughter and dad agreed that Jeremy Crittenden as Matthew produced probably the strongest overall sustained performance, but Stevens as the uber-gay Mark was a close second along with Jak Barradell as Luke the break-dancer bustin’ moves left-right-&-center. Then there’s Brandyn Eddy doing an ironic and engaging turn as Abraham – he reminds his Xian buddies the Guy nailed to the cross behind the altar was himself a Jew. And not to forget Michael Culp as the tumescent Latino Juan who hip-thrusts constantly, even tries to hump a thurible (look that one up oh ye non-catholics...!).

No question all the ebullient performance here is aimed at girly-guy metros of all gender who get their giggles from tequila gushing right outta the gun  -- no sips of an ethereal anejo like XQ Gran Reserve for this crowd, no sirree. Pure Las Vegas, in other words, soon to reach cult status like Rocky Horror or Xanadu. 

The varied costumes from jock bohunk to mod-office to fairydust pastels were perfect by designer Sheila White, as well as the signature white reprise outfits.  

But most striking of all was the acrobatic and deliberately over-the-top burlesque of boy band hand-jive and fancy footwork routines by Sara-Jeanne Hosie. Sheer delite !

Fun, silly, satirical Jesus-lyrics in boy-band mode.  Sound like you ?  This’ll surely be a summer-pleaser for you if that’s the case. And all in the space of 90 minutes of straight gaity!


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